YouTube Breaks Out of Digital Shell with Live Music Awards Show


Well, it’s about time. YouTube, the king on online video and a major launching pad for up-and-coming musical acts is set to host its own live Music Awards in New York on Nov. 3. The 90-minute show will be streamed live on the site. Actor Jason Schwartzman will host the event while director Spike Jonze will oversee creative. 

“Our point is to celebrate YouTube’s role in the music ecosystem,” said Danielle Tiedt, VP marketing. “If you think about how most of us encounter music, it’s usually on YouTube, whether it’s stars like Miley Cyrus and her VMA performance or her new Wrecking Ball video, or musicians like Lindsey (Stirling), who broke thanks to our site.”[more]

Musical guests will include Eminem, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire and home-grown YouTube stars including music-video collective CDZA (20 million views) and violinist Stirling (417 million views) along with taped performances from as-yet-unannounced events in Seoul, Moscow, Brazil and London.

Vice and Sunset Lane Entertainment (producer of MTV’s Video Music Awards) are executive producers of the show, while Kia has nabbed sponsorship rights. The nominees for the show’s seven awards will be announced on Oct. 17, with winners chosen by fans. 

“We’re trying to create live videos during the award shows so that the experience becomes more about creating than presenting,” Tiedt said, according to Billboard. “Music is our bread and butter and our heart and soul here at YouTube. Our main goal is to not just do another award show. We wanted to do something special.”

As for the show—anything goes. “I want to find out if we can make a whole night just about making things. Instead of just doing performances, can we do live collaborations?,” Jonze told Billboard. “There are no rules. Why does there have to be rules? It’s the Internet.”